19 August 2008

Chicklet Teeth

Who here has veneers or white composite fillings? Raise your hand.

I've had composite white fillings on my two front teeth since grade school. In the early 80's, composite white fillings for tooth repairs were a new and progressive idea. They were offered as an alternative to caps which are now no longer universally used. I've always had tooth issues as I chipped my teeth when I was 7 or 8 doing something really stupid.

Blanket on head + roller skates + in grass + charging into metal tree support = something really stupid.

Before you rush off to get that Gary Busey chicklet smile, white composite material isn't what it's cracked up to be, pun intended. I've discovered it's $$ for white composite fillings and $$$$$ for veneers.

No one tells you that composite fillings chip off or break every 6 to 8 years. And they do. I had one just crack off my tooth from drinking water that was too cold. I drink my weight in coffee but have had to kiss iced drinks goodbye. Maybe the materials are different now. The cost certainly hasn't gone down.

I do know for a fact that composites cannot be whitened. If your composites are not over all of your teeth, you must pay to maintain a uniform color. Loosely translated, there are two options: Stay with normal tooth color for your composite fillings and never whiten, or pay to have all your teeth whitened and maintained. You can also whiten your teeth but you'll look like a reverse fluoride overdose with white teeth and darkened spots.

I chipped my tooth a few months back and have put off the dentist for a while with Mr Coffee out of town so much this summer. I bit the bullet and went into a recommended dentist to make my appointment. She asked for my insurance.

"This will be out of pocket," I cringed at the thought of the bill.

She smiled, "No problem, we do have financing available." She pushed a pamphlet toward me.

I took the glossy pamphlet albeit, reluctantly. Financing could only translate, 'bend over and grab your ankles'.

"Could you tell me what kind of cost I would be expecting? I can't write off a $500 check without some kind of warning." I giggled, hoping to sound less pathetically broke. I'm fairly certain it didn't work although, asking for what someone will charge you for a service is not unreasonable.

How often do you just load up your grocery cart and say to the checker, "Hey! Charge me whatever you feel like"Or perhaps slap your wallet down and tell the cashier, "Help yourself!"

My mechanic does estimates, why does the dentist, or any doctor for that matter, have to be difficult?

She looked at me and threw up her hands, "I couldn't tell you what kind of work they will do, but x-rays and consultation will be...um, tops? $115 dollars and then if you want to proceed with the work, they will tell you the cost at that time."

I gulped and looked down at the pamphlet. The dentist in the glossy picture smiled back. He looked younger than me. I'm sure he was quite capable although, I wanted to scissor-kick his perfectly white, straightened teeth.

What I didn't understand was that he wanted me to pay him $115 for something I could show him with an open mouth and an index finger. Then again, who is the smart one here? The patient who pays to have the doctor prod around in my mouth with a metal tool and say, "Don't put metal things in your mouth."

If the dentist needs an x-ray to see my chipped tooth, a front tooth at that, then he's pretty much a blind extortionist. Do I want to pay through the nose to have a blind dentist fixing my tooth? I have no other choice than to pay, because other dentists I checked with would do the same. Have you seen billy bob teeth?

Yeah, I don't think so.

For the second time in 10 years, next week I have an appointment to get my tooth fixed by Mr Young Blind Dentist, DMD. I'm also considering changing my college career path to dentistry. I won't have my sight but at least I can retire early.

~Bee currently does not have a Colgate smile.
Listening To: Fergalicious by Fergie


Millie said...

This reminds me of two things:

"Sadie, Sadie, married lady..." "She married a dentist!"


"You fargin sneaky bastige!" <--- the dentist

My mom married a dentist, who put beautiful white porcelain veneers on her already perfect teeth - then she had the audacity to tell me that she was going to give me some stuff to whiten my teeth. Pardon my big ugly yellow mouth, Mother Dear, I'm sorry I can't measure up to your FAKEY PERFECTION. How dare she!!!!!

Did it hurt when your veneer fell off? Ouch.

I would need warning before throwing all that money at my teeth, too.

ancient one said...

My dentist is younger than me and whenever he says things need to be done.. I always ask up front "how much?" (I don't like surprises).. he's always been very nice to tell me and then charges me exactly that! He will work with anyone on payments and such. I like this dentist so much more than the one I left.

And I can relate to the poster just above me with our natural colored teeth. LOL

Foo said...

Turtle has casually suggested I consider getting something done about my snaggly, grayish yellow-green teeth, but the way I figure it I'm pushing 50 and am far too old to start being vain about my looks now. Besides, I don't have any prior experience deflecting hordes of female admirers and would certainly say or do something in response that would get me in dutch with my much-adored bride.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that if I had to deal with some of the rank-breath, rotting mouth odors on a daily basis, I would charge that much, too.

For every one simple case like yours, there are probably about 12 suffering from advanced gum disease and various and sundry other pustulous problems.

Dentists make bank because they get to deal with the gross factor. Not that surgeons and other doctors don't, but last I checked, they are all fairly well paid.

But that's just my opinion.I laughed at the scissor-kick comment. I had braces when I was younger and now that I am older, my teeth have gone quite crooked again. I didn't think that could happen, but apparently it can. I am not fond of dentists either, consequently.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Come and live in the UK babe. Your teeth, even chipped, would stand out like beacons of health and beauty. ;D

holly said...

i just recently got my teeth fixed. it is awesome, after so many many years. you have just reminded me why i live in the uk. whew! thank you.

Anne said...

I chipped my front tooth in the fifth grade - check it out.

I had one of those veneers put on and it popped off right away while biting into a chip. After that, it lasted until I was about 30 when I had it replaced because it had worn down so much. You're right - you can't whiten your teeth unless you want to pay a pretty fortune.

R said...

That bites. No pun intended.

I am really hating on dentists right now. I think the only honest person in the dental field is my orthodontist.

I hope that all gets ironed out.

Anonymous said...

It's a racket, I tell you. And they always seem to find a problem that you didn't come in for. They're glorified auto mechanics.

A racket.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

My girl busted her tooth (she caught an elbow in the kisser while playing football at recess) and we've replaced it twice already.

I don't think I should tell her that she has this to look forward to, from here on out.

Hope Mr. YBD managed, what without his eyes.

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